Digital marketing is an ever-expanding field of services and vendors. Unlike older forms of marketing – such as print, radio and TV advertising – digital marketing is completely measurable so you have the data to know where and how to invest your budget wisely. Most businesses outsource to digital companies in some form – whether that’s to develop a website or app, or to get help with SEO and Google Ads management. The trick is to find the right supplier. Here are the most common forms of digital marketing explained in a snapshot.
Search engine optimisation, more commonly known as SEO, has become part of the vernacular for business owners and anyone operating in marketing and the digital space. Put in layman’s language, it’s the art of getting your website right to the top of page 1 of Google search results.
But how do you do it? It used to be that publishing great content, with the right mix of keywords, was sufficient to get traction, but over the last several years, SEO has really evolved to become both an art and a science (read about SEO trends in 2020). This complexity has led to SEO being one of the most outsourced tasks in business today. Thousands of SEO “experts” have sprung up in Australia alone, pitching their capability backed with a high-performance promise. Sounds good, but the reality is there are many unscrupulous SEO consultants who are far from experts, and who may deliver results to you short term, only to create long-term damage through unethical link building practices. (Creating backlinks to your site is effective only when the source website is trusted and carries authority with Google.)
Before you engage an SEO consultant in Australia, think about how much traffic to your website you want, to generate the desired number of leads to meet your sales goals. (You have to work backwards from sales to leads to clicks.) This will determine the amount of SEO effort required and the retainer which will make sense for your business – most SEO consultants charge a monthly retainer of anywhere between $500 and $5000, but many SEO consultants will, understandably, not take on work less than $1,000 / month, as the impact will not be great enough.
It’s critical to pick the right SEO provider, who has referenceable, happy long-term clients. Find trusted SEO providers near you
Search engine marketing, or SEM, refers to paid advertising on search engines – in most cases, at least in the English-speaking world, that means Google Ads (formerly Adwords). One of the big attractions of SEM is that, unlike SEO, results can be instant – you can upload an ad in minutes and see clicks coming through to your website shortly after. It is critical to monitor how these click-throughs are converting, as there is no point generating visits to your website if there is no visible contact information or form to fill out which captures the lead. Some businesses go through thousands of dollars a month without bothering to monitor this or optimise their landing pages for conversion. (Note that SEM consultants will normally invoice you for their monthly management fee plus the pass-through cost of the advertising.) Given the amount of money at stake, it’s often best to work with a digital agency or freelancer, who really knows what they’re doing, rather than try to manage inhouse. Find trusted providers to manage your Google Ads campaigns.
Social media marketing
Another popular form of digital marketing is social media marketing. In the consumer world, Facebook is the most popular social platform, and for B2B, it’s LinkedIn. There are two ways you can go about this, and most businesses leverage both: the first only costs you time, and involves you having a free presence on the platform. You can set up a page for your business, post regularly, build a following, and jump in to the conversation in groups where you can add comments which demonstrate your authority in a particular domain. The other form of social media marketing is paid advertising. Both Facebook and LinkedIn allow for very granular targeting so your ad only pops up to your target audience.
Many companies include a competition or prize in their ad (for example, “Subscribe today, and be in the running to win a trip to Byron!”, or “Complete the survey about your energy needs, and get in the draw for a free solar panel for your home!”) – in this way, they capture many interested users’ names and email addresses, who they continue marketing to.
Social media advertising is not only about lead generation – it may also be about education (for example, the Government may want to communicate a new health guideline), or brand awareness (when a new product is launched and the company wants you to see it everywhere). Whatever the case, be clear about your purpose or goal so you can measure and evaluate the success of the campaign accordingly.
Did you know Youtube is the world’s second largest search engine? People have a tendency to think of it as a place to search for music. While this may have once been the case, people now search Youtube for everything from inspiration and education (such as Ted Talks) to “how to” guides for using technology (such as Jargon-free Help). You can launch your company channel for free and post an explainer video and short video testimonials from your top customers (find a video production specialist here).
Another exciting trend in video marketing is personalised videos. That’s where a baseline video is created then personalised for each and every one of your customers. For example, you can insert fields for the customer’s name, tenure with your business, products they are missing out on… The possibilities are endless, and the good news is that customer engagement is high when comparing a personalised video to a boring pdf document!
Website and app design
Before we consider any of these digital marketing solutions, the foundation of a good website needs to be in place. More consumers view websites on mobile devices than desktop on average (although for B2B this is often not the case), and search engines prioritise mobile-friendly sites. So ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices. A website that scales to any size device – from smartphone and tablet to laptop and desktop – is known as a responsive design website.
Some companies opt to have an app in addition to or instead of a website. An app is appropriate if your customers are likely to use your service or product more than just one-off. Once they have downloaded your app, you have a permanent footprint on their phone and are in “easy reach” without the user having to remember or look for a website. Find highly rated companies to develop your website or app.